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An Atlanta-based provider of web-based real estate technologies describes its newest suite of products as a response to the economy. Virtual Premise developed its IMPACT Cost Savings Program to help retail tenants identify money-saving and operational efficiency opportunities within their real estate portfolio, says president and COO Andy Thomas.

He says Virtual Premise designed the tools to give companies more visibility into their real estate portfolio, and, ideally, enable better management of this significant cost center. They were launched to satisfy needs identified by clients at a customer conference last November.

“There was an overwhelming call, if you will, for tools or services that can help determine the best ways to reduce costs,” Thomas explains. According to a survey conducted at the conference, cost reduction is the most significant business challenge in today’s economy.

About 84% said their companies were “definitely challenging them to find ways to save money” in their real estate portfolios, while 53% said they have “definitely faced increased pressure to reduce costs over the past six months.”

Most respondents said they are attempting to reduce operating expenses and space requirements, as well as increase the use of technology to save money. “Companies are under increasing pressure to derive greater value from their real estate portfolio,” Thomas says, noting that the challenge to find and implement cost reduction strategies “has increased dramatically.”

As recently as two years ago, retailers were less concerned with cost than efficiency, Thomas recalled. “They were interested in opening stores faster, speeding completion of deals and finding ways to drive revenue,” he says.

But times have changed. There are fewer store openings and fewer deals, so nothing backs up in the pipeline. The primary concern is controlling costs, Thomas concurred. Virtual Premise responded to the client survey with a program it predicts will “help real estate departments be more responsive to the immediate needs of the enterprise they serve, improving their cost management, generating savings and driving profitability.”

The IMPACT Cost Savings Program includes three components: VP Intellicheck, a lease management Consulting service; Advanced Desktop Audit Manager (ADAM), operating expense and reconciliation software; and Transaction Manager–software created to help retailers gain more insight into transaction work being performed by third-party service providers.

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